Sunday, September 30, 2012

274:365 - Flight!

He's getting really really good with recall!

Matching colours

While we were in the process of cleaning out our inventory of bird toys, the "Citrus Pull" resurfaced - not that I had forgotten that one, quite the contrary, I had been looking for it every since we moved but it ended up being in a box in the basement as opposed to the rest of the bird toys which were in the garage...

Anyways, the Citrus Pull had been bought as a gift for Léa by a friend. I had meant to put it in Léa's cage, but the plastic beads on it made me weary so I figured it would become an out of cage toy so I could supervise her play time with it.

This morning, Shade was perching next to it and I couldn't help notice how well it complemented her colours!

The sad state of Ruby Blue

Back in June, I first posted about poor Ruby Blue - an Oliver's Garden toy which is on the rather large side, which I purchased to satisfy Léa increasing appetite for all toys wooden - and how Léa has started to chip away at her.

While Ruby is still standing, her state has become much more deplorable.

One of her eyes is totally missing whilst the other is just barely hanging on. Her "fins" have been totally annihilated on one side and the other is sporting serious damage. The photo doesn't really show it, but the body of Ruby is also starting to show some wear and tear as the result of much beak abuse.

Even after a few months, she's still keeping Léa's interest and I have to say, it's nice to know that some toys can last a bit longer to the repeat offense of Ms. Big Beak. That's not to say that I will stop offering smaller and easier toys to Léa, quite the contrary, as I feel that if they all had the complexity of Ruby (which really has mostly to do with her shear size), then Léa would have no interest in them. It's all about balance.

But Ruby has been an investment I've been happy with and will surely repeat once she's been entirely reduced to sawdust.


This was Léa yesterday morning.

She's not quite as bad this morning, but she's still trying to get into things she shouldn't!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

273:365 - Focused on the task at hand

What is funny with Joey is that one moment he'll be entirely focused on one thing, then the next he'll be obsessed with something entirely different.

Like right now, he goes from playing intently with a foot toy to then trying to get to my fingers through the glass top of the desk...silly bird.

I won a contest!

Avian Avenue has monthly contests being hosted by different vendors and these vendors offer up prizes.

In July, a contest which had the theme "Picture Perfect" started and the prize was a painting of the winning picture by Ashley Dietrich Art and Design (she has two Etsy stores, I'm linking to the bird related one as it's more fitting to this whole thing).

I entered this picture of Léa.

As some of my regular readers might know, I am slowly having portraits of my birds made by a local artist; these portraits are all 16" x 16". I figured submitting a baby portrait of Léa in the contest was the best thing as I really wanted a portrait of her as an adult done as the others and this way, if I won, I could have a portrait of her as both a baby and an adult.

Now, as the title of this post suggests, I did win first prize in the contest, which actually surprised me because until that last round (there were 3 voting rounds), I wasn't in the first few contenders.

I had the option of a $50 credit towards a custom painting of my picture or an existing piece of art in the store. Obviously I went with the custom painting and let Ashley chose what size she thought would work best (between 8" x 8", 8" x 10" or 6" x 12"). She went with the latter. I received my painting sometime last week but didn't have time to take a picture of it until today.

Here it is -

I am very happy with how it turned out. Thank you Ashley!

Toy organization

I never really had a organization system for the toys I purchased for the birds, which often resulted in me "finding" things I forgot I had. And since the move, most of the toys were kept in boxes in the garage (which was too full to ever see a car in it's midst) which left me more clueless about what I had and didn't have.

With the Sidewalk Sale on Avian Avenue fast approaching  I did something I swore myself I wouldn't do this year and made some wishlists (I was sick yesterday and had some "me" time - which I spent on the birds, what's new...)

I had three full lists (Crystal's Bird Toys, Avian Organics and Oliver's Garden) and one partial list (Things for Wings); although the vendors are not yet announced, I have a fairly good feeling that these stores will participate. In any case, my lists got long and at the end of the exercise I was a bit taken aback at the amount I put down. Granted, I don't know what the sales will be so those were not taken into consideration so it's quite likely my totals would be less than what I came up with.

Still, this got me thinking that I should really take inventory of what I have hiding in boxes before committing to more toys.

So today the Boy and I tackled the garage - at least where bird toys were concerned. We went through every bin and box, filtered through the toys I wanted to keep, those I wanted to give to a local rescue (toys I purchased a while ago, forgot I had and that I know now aren't really things the flock will like) and those I just wanted to toss. Looking at the pile of kept items, I came up with some categories; toys from Things for Wings, toys from Crystal's Bird Toys, toys from Oliver's Garden and toys from "Others". I wanted to use large clear identical plastic containers for each category, plus a smaller one for perches, so out we went to buy some. We got lucky and found 4 identical large containers and one that seemed perfect for my collection of perches.

The "Others" bin was filled but everything I wanted in there went in there. The other bins have a little wiggle room and I told myself that as long as I kept my toy supplies contained into those four bins, then everything was in control. I also kept a similar size plastic bin that I already had for bird related items to keep toy making supplies. This exercise also made me feel better about what I intend to purchase during the sale.

It's also nice to finally know what my bird toy inventory is really like!

272:365 - Pixel

She wasn't really in a "having her picture taken mood" and I wasn't really in a "picture taking mood" either.
On those days, I'm happy that there is less than 100 days to go until the end of the project!

Friday, September 28, 2012

What the vet said...

Since I'm in the vein of trusting birds lately, I'll add a quick note about Léa's recent visit to the vet. It was actually something I meant to share before, but life got in the way and then I forgot.

Léa was there for an annual check up and I wanted the vet to give a particular care to her eyes since the outer rings was starting to change colour and since I've never really heard of Capes eyes changing in colour, I was a little concerned. As the vet brought her hands closer to her head, Léa would only blink at the last moment before anything would touch her head and remained quite calm. But given that Léa had taken a flight when they let her out of the cage and navigated the room really well before settling on the Boy (the one person she really knew (he brought her in)), there was no concern that she was having any eyesight issues. In fact, after all of this the vet said she was very trusting of humans and that there was no real need to be concerned about her eyes.

Looking cozy

Enjoying the large-mini crawler from Oliver's Garden. It's truly loved by many birds here!

271:365 - Trustful Shade

Not many of my birds will put themselves (because she did put her head all the way back like that and spent some time with closed eyes) in that vulnerable a position.

She is actually the one who's the most comfortable lying on her back in my hand out of the whole flock, although Pixel is a close second. Piper hates being on his back and trust still needs to be built with Joey and Zuri (and Petey - but I'm not expecting much progress with him anytime soon) before I can do this consistently with them. Léa is getting better and better about it too!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

270:365 - Alert Zuri

Not sure what was going on...

Sharing birdies

This was taken by the Boy and the title is the title he gave the email in which he sent this picture to me.

I think I would have gone with "How many do you see?"

269:365 - Hanging out

And pretty happy about it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

268:365 - Surprised!

Well, that's how he looks in the picture at least.
I'm pretty sure at this point he was bobbing his head a lot - and I'm surprised I got a shot that was so in focus!

Pixel turns 8 today!

I actually had to triple verify her age before I posted because I had such a hard time believing she was already 8. And I guess it won't get any easier from here!

This post really isn't easy for me - while I know Pois are known to have a 30 year lifespan in captivity, and, if she lives up to it, hasn't even covered a third of it, it's hard to think she already done so much of it, and only 2 of those years have been with me - and this is making me choke up inside.

Imagine how hard I'll have it when 2 of the other birds will be turning 8 next year..yikes!

This should be a happy post, it's her "hatch day" after all. But I've heard of so many birds passing away last week and that always brings back the reality that they won't live forever and that I'm so not prepared to losing one of them - and them getting older just doesn't help the feeling.

So I'll give Pixel extra cuddles today, because it's "her" day, and because I can. I'll focus on her funny Red belly antics and enjoy her while she's here. Because even though she's getting a year older, she's still acts "like a kid". And I'll also rejoice that I've been blessed with having the opportunity to having her be part my flock for two years already and that she should be here for many more.

Happy hatchday Pixel!

267:365 - Adorable Puffy Piper

Here I am, with a backlog of 365 pictures to go through again.
The last few days have been very busy, and it's all I could do to post one new post per day - these definitively were short and involved pictures that had already been processed.

The Littles are out with me this morning, like every morning, and Piper is lying down on my shoulder. He made me smile a few minutes ago, when he flew away to another perch to poo, then flew back to me and went right back into the same spot he had occupied just before.

Such a sweet little bird.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Preening time!

Whether it be done by the bird itself..

...or I get roped into it somehow!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breakfast was a success!

At least for two of them, if I judge by how messy their beaks got!

On the menu was fruit (apple and grape), a small piece of multigrain toast and Muesli from Avian Organics.

266:365 - Totally ignoring me..

He was much more interested in trying to get the Boy's attention so that he would pick him up!

Birdie buddies

You preen me...

...and I'll preen you!

Band of coral

She's working on getting a large band of coral going on her wing..well at least the bottom part!


Earlier this week I rekindled my fondness of Instagram. I had stopped taking pictures of the birds with my phone for a while; be it that it was because they either went after the phone, the fact that I normally don't carry it around the house with me or just because I forgot my Instagram password, it was months since I last used my phone for that purpose, period.

Because it was "new" again, I might have gone a little overboard. But that's ok. Initially I was considering making a weekly post with my Instagram pictures (and call it "Weekly Instagram"), but given I will most likely stop again, I thought it was best not to commit to it. And, while I looked at the pictures I did take this week, there were a few I believed deserved their own post and not simply be amalgamated into a one-many-pictures-post.

So here are a few of the pictures I took this week, but be prepared to see a few more posts pop up, which have that distinctive look..

Cooking for the birds

As I mentioned in a past post, I've been very very busy at work lately and this will likely go on for most of October as well. I had promised myself that this week-end would be dedicated to rest and cooking.

Rest, because I need it and cooking, because I generally enjoy it and I had every intention of making big batches of stuff that would make my week evenings easier.

This was not just limited to cooking for us humans - I also had every intention to making big batches of food for the birds.

So yesterday morning I tackled the cooking task; one hand, I had a ham going for us (which provided plenty of leftovers) and, on the other, I wanted to prep two containers of food for the birds (a raw mix and a cooked mix).

Once the ham was in the oven, I moved onto the bird stuff. I went outside and collected all the chard that was ready to go, which was a HUGE bundle. I washed and trimmed it and kept a few leaves for the raw veggie mix. The rest saw its leaves cut down to large chunks and stems diced finely and set aside until my large pot became available (with the ham I wanted potato salad so at that time the potatoes were cooking in that large pot).

I then moved onto chopping the leaves I had set aside in small pieces for the raw veggie mix. Alongside the chard, I had carrots, broccoli, a red bell pepper and a chili. Those last two ingredients also came from my garden.

The raw mix

The raw mix is pretty basic, I didn't have much on hand (groceries day is today) and I have every intention of complementing the raw veggies with the cooked mix.

While I was cutting everything up, the potatoes for my salad finished cooking. I washed the pot and set the chard stems to steam with a little water. That took a few minutes and when it was done, I removed them and set the leaves to steam as well. Once that was done, I put what was left in a colander to drain and cool while I returned to the raw mix.

When the chard was nice and cool, I gave it a squeeze to draw out even more liquid and gave it a rough chop. At this point I wanted to add some grains/legumes so I set a cup of French lentils to cook (I really like these as they retain their shape better than normal lentils I find) and a cup of quinoa. The instructions for the quinoa said to bring the water to a boil, put the quinoa in and then let it come back to a boil...I thought I would have a least 30 seconds before the water came back to the boil and I had time to quickly do something else....and that was not the case. Needless to say, I had a nice quinoa mess on my hands at that point.

Mix of cooked chard, lentils and quinoa with added raw chili

I thought that mix could use a little something more so I added a little dash of powered ginger and cinnamon and a larger dash of cayenne, which did give it all a bit more flavour. But I also wanted to add something more substantial so I cut up some sweet potato and set it to steam. Once that was one, I also figured I'd add some beans, which were fresh from my garden. This is a true testament to how much I love these birds as I don't share those beans very easily (just ask the Boy..).

Cooked mix with additional steamed sweet potatoes and beans

At this point I was done, not because I felt I couldn't add anything more, but I was tired and thought it was a good base to begin with. I had also purchased a small pie pumpkin with every intention of using it, but I might just try something different with it for the birds next week-end.

This big batch of cooked food was divided in dinner size portions in small Ziploc bags destined for the freezer and I got a little more than two weeks worth of food from it. Not bad!

And, on a funny note, when the Boy saw the final cooked mix he asked if it was for us or for the birds - he really wanted to eat it!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shade and Zuri also approve of Snappy Stars!

Obviously, I moved the toy. It was getting dark and I wanted to close the blinds so the Wingdow had to come down. Since Shade and Zuri play a lot around the atom, I figured putting the toy there would be a good place to start.

Shade is so excited!

At first, the toy terrified Shade who flew away to another stand.

I left the toy up, since Zuri was eyeing it curiously and turned my attention back to the Red bellies who were sitting on the computer desk, which is on the opposite side of the room from the play structure.

Eventually there was some wood chomping noise so I turned around. To my surprise, Shade was the one who was most enthusiastically breaking down the toy and Zuri nibbled here and there.

Obviously, the toy is most definitively a success and I will have to get them all an individual toy for their cages.

Léa likes the Snappy Stars!

The Snappy Stars was a custom toy I had Crystal from Crystal's Bird Toys design. Because it seems I have some toy hoarding tendencies, I held onto this one for a while (read I forgot it was in a bag of toys in a closet) and decided to hang it up today (read I found the bag of toys in the closet and found the toy).

Honestly though, I figured this one would be better suited for the smaller birds, but since I only had one copy, I wanted it hung in a "communal" area so everyone had a chance to play with it. The Wingdow had an available hook so there it went.

Obviously, this meant Léa also got to try it out. She mainly kept to the wooden beads though (she ALWAYS starts with the beads, if there are any on a toy), so the toys is still mostly intact and this will allow the others to get a chance to try it out.

This toy also features some cork, which will make my cork-fiend (Pixel) very happy. The thin slats of wood, wood beads and smaller natural branches also should be liked by all.

I'll definitively will have to order more of this toy!

I want...

...your camera!!

He was definitively getting ready to leap onto the flash part of it!

265:365 - More coy Shade

She's got that coy head tilt down perfectly!
And obviously, I'm running out of inspiration for ideas for titles...oh well!

Shoulder buddy

Whether or not to allow your bird on your shoulder can become a heated topic when you go on parrot-related forums. I've always believed that the most important thing is to know your bird before making the decision to allow it to perch there or not.

Part of the "problem" is that being on the shoulder gets them direct access to your face - something that could end up being dangerous.

In my flock, I'll allow Piper, Shade and Pixel access to my shoulder with no restriction - I know them well enough and they have never shown any inclination to aggressive tendencies while up there.

Zuri I'll allow depending on his body language. When he's calm, I have no problems and he'll generally sit there preening my hair. If he's feeling hi-strung, he's not allowed.

Joey lost the privilege a while ago since he would always try to go after my ears. He can change his mood on a flip of a dime, so with him, I have a "always in front of me" policy so that I can see the change.

Petey wants nothing to do with me and the times where he does fly to me, it's not to sit nicely..

That leaves us with Léa. Because she's still a baby, I'm not reinforcing having her sitting on my shoulder - I don't know what she'll be like older so until I get a better grasp of her full personality, the shoulder is mostly off limits. She's allowed there when it's to transition from one thing to another (she'll stay all of 5 seconds) or when it's late and she wants to sleep. Other than that..well she doesn't really sit still the rest of the time so it's never really been an issue.

If you are interested in bird-related item sales...

Avian Avenue will be having it's bi-annual "Sidewalk Sale" on October 5th through the 7th. The participating vendors and sales they'll be sharing have not yet been announced; those are added as we get closer to the actual sale dates. You just need to keep a close eye on the Marketplace sub-forum for details as they become available.

Sales are generally open to forum members so if anyone is interested that isn't a member, I suggest you sign up!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flying Piper

Yesterday I mentioned I had taken some pictures of Piper flying. Here are a few of the nicer ones. I'll definitively will have to try it again somewhere where there is more light, it might make things easier on me!

He did quite a few recalls to me that night, I was quite proud of him!


Bullet Piper!

Full wingspan!